According to Greenville Online, a news outlet covering the Greenville-Spartanburg metro area in South Carolina, BMW has announced more investments in its local plant. But even though the factory that produces many of the X series models is 98 percent automated, BMW is – this time – investing in humans.
The Germany-based company announced recently that BMW Spartanburg is in need of more robot experts – so many more, in fact, that the plant with 240 robots in its paint shop alone will be doubling the size of a community program that it utilizes to build automation apprentices.
The BMW Scholars Program will add a fourth area technical college to its academic partnerships, where students pursuing a manufacturing-specific field can balance classes with part-time work at BMW and learn various disciplines within the carmaker's top-of-the-line auto plant. These students, who are also offered tuition assistance and even health care coverage, can find themselves in line for direct-hire contracts with BMW, where full-time work and overtime options can yield six-figure salaries, according to the company.
BMW says a 1.2 million-square-foot body shop is near completion, and it features some 2,000 robots. Add to that “miles and miles” of conveyors, and the facility is in dire need of the kind of people whose primary focus is uptime. The Scholars Program will enhance its small crew – 130 of graduates through the program in the past seven years – and look to increase its total number of students in the 2-year program to 200.